2015 marked not only a new year but a BIG new year – the year I start my clinical internship. After 3 long years of almost 5,000 hours spent in classrooms, 50+ exams and 1 NABNE licensing board examination I will be granted the opportunity to work as a primary intern at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic.
I’ve talked about the teaching clinic before, but if you’d like to learn more than click here.
When I know the hours I will be accepting patients at the RSNC in May I will share the news, but until then, I will be focusing on completing my last academic year, traveling to India to gain further knowledge and clinical experience, and preparing my NEW WEBSITE for it’s launch in May! I can’t wait to share it with you, but till then, follow my Facebook Page to keep in touch with me, my trip to India and updates on my internship.
In love & health,
The week is coming to a close so hopefully everyone is getting inspired to fill their freezers with nutritious meals. Another amazing soup comes our way from Ashley, who basically is treating us to a 2 in 1 recipe! While you’re waiting for the soup to cook, check out some of Ashley’s other delicious looking recipes on her website here.
First order of business, thanks to Kelsey for asking me to guest blog for her. I am so excited to share this recipe with all y’all
Next order of business: this chicken and chicken soup is to die for. I make it nearly every few weeks, and it is 100% foolproof. Which is important, because studying is brain-draining, and soup is, you know, sustenance.
PLUS – making a big pot of soup will provide me with at least 10 mason jars filled with the stuff, easy enough to freeze, reheat, take to school/work and eat. This leaves me ample to time to fulfill all of my other pressing obligations. Baking, thinking about Christmas, online shopping, discovering new settings on my camera, studying… quadruple the time spent on that last one, and then quadruple again.
Here’s how it’s done:
Start with a whole chicken, that has been rinsed under water and patted dry with paper towel, and stuffed with the most awesome dressing ever (recipe below). Place with the chicken breasts down in a large pan filled with 2 large chopped carrots, 2 chopped stalks of celery, 2 chopped potatoes, a cubed onion and at least 2 cloves of garlic. You can never go wrong with too much garlic. Roast this baby at 400F for about 2 hours. It will change based on the size of your chicken – but you’re looking for in and around 2 hours.
With about 20 minutes left, flip the chicken so that the breasts are facing up, remove the lid and let the skin get nice and brown.
Dinner. Seriously, remove the stuffing, cut up the meat and take the potatoes, celery, onions and carrots and have yourself a good old homecooked meal.
Post dinner peel off all the skin on the rest of the chicken, discard it, and cut the rest of the meat off the bones. Put the meat in the fridge for safe-keeping. No body likes uninvited guests – aka microbes.
In a large stock pot, combine all of the chicken bones with chopped carrots, celery and onion; as well as a finger full each of parsley and oregano, a dash of rosemary and basil and some pepper.
Fill the pot with water, and add ½ tsp of white vinegar.
Place the pot on the stove, and turn on high until contents start to boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and simmer for 1-2 hours. A bigger pot will require more boiling.
Strain the broth through a strainer to catch the bones and vegetables – discard these into the compost bin.
Place the bowl of broth in the fridge with a piece of wax paper over top – just touching the top of the broth.
The next day, the fat will have congealed near the wax paper. Carefully remove the wax paper, taking as much of the fat as you can with you, then scrape the rest out.
Wash and cube 2 large carrots, 2 stalks of celery, 1 medium onion, 2 large potatoes (or 3 small ones) and all the left over meat from the previous day. Place all ingredients in a large pot/slow cooker.
Add 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp parsley, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp basil, 1 tsp thyme and ½ tsp rosemary.
Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer for about 1 hours, until the vegetables (specifically the potatoes) are soft.
Serve, and enjoy!
Then portion the rest of the soup into mason jars to enjoy throughout the coming weeks!
2 slices bread, cubed.
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
3 cloves garlic
1/3 lemon, squeezed
3 tbsp sesame seeds
toss together and stuff in bird
Follow Ashley on Twitter @ashley_margeson and Instagram at @ashley_margeson
Visit her website at www.ashleymargeson.com
A post I had prepared for the Tuesday I left for Mexico and then forgot to post!
I’m off today for a Mexican vacation celebrating a completed NPLEX, written and submitted master’s thesis, and a beautiful wedding with some great friends (obviously not all my accomplishments!). Traveling always poses issues when it comes to your routine of eating and exercising – especially when you are heading to an all-inclusive where you have even less control over the food. As I fully believe in an everything in moderation lifestyle, I’m excited to get away from my routine for a week and relax. However, I have packed a few items to help me keep some consistency in my life and ensure I feel my best throughout the entire trip.
1. Yoga mat – I basically have stopped going anywhere without my yoga mat. A little morning stretch and refresh will be a nice way to start my day. I’m not placing any expectations on myself to use it everyday, but I’ve been connected to my mat recently and I don’t see why being in a hotel will change that.
2. Digestive Enzymes – New places = new food = different methods of cooking. I always find my stomach a little upset on vacation so I’ve been taking my probiotics religiously to prepare my gut for the change in diet and I plan on taking some enzymes to give my gut some assistance when needed.
3. Protein-rich Snacks – Why am I bringing food to a resort where food will be abundant? This past month I’ve been aiming for 5 meals a day with lots of protein and I know that won’t be achievable lying on the beach (unless I find a nice pool boy to bring me plates of meat and cheese…. mm). So I packed some trail mix and protein bars to have in my beach bag when I need a snack. No hangry’s here!
4. Arsenicum 200ch – A homeopathic remedy famous acutely for traveler’s diarrhea. TMI moment but I almost always have a distressed stomach on vacation and my boyfriend works for Johnson&Johnson meaning we have an endless supply of Imodium when needed. Imodium does me more harm then good in the long run, so I plan on tackling any digestive issues homeopathically.
Other than this, my bag is full of bathing suits and sun dresses! A great way to end a summer that ended up being slightly stressful and not that warm. Hope everyone is enjoying their last bit of August – back to school when I return (ahh)!
In love & health,
I’ve spent a lot of time this summer in self-reflection, and ultimately progressing through some self-healing. I have felt my connection to energetic principals grow stronger every day as I explore and learn. Growth is so important – and as we get older it’s so easy to get comfortable with our daily routines. We find our careers and until the day we retire our lives begin revolving around the concept of getting up every morning, going to work, and coming home. It’s only natural to sink into ruts without even knowing it. We spend our mornings in a haze because it’s almost second nature to get ready for the day, we start to eat the same foods because they’re convenient and easy, and each night we come home to the same house where we make dinner, turn our brains off in front of the TV for an hour and then go to bed – because tomorrow is another day. Rarely do we challenge these norms because if something’s not broke then why fix it, right? I used to fight change with every ounce of my soul, and I know a part of me is still very resistant. I struggle with any type of decision, be it what we eat for dinner that night or something more life altering it doesn’t matter, I struggle. This summer I have really tried to learn and understand that part of myself a bit better. Accept my quarks and embrace them because at the end of the day it is what makes me who I am. That being said, I decided I no longer want to be afraid of change. I want things to be different everyday to open up opportunities to grow even more. When I graduate and start working I don’t want your run of the mill practice, I want to be different. I want to be bold. I want to be a trailblazer for those coming into the profession behind me. The more comfortable we get the more we begin to hold ourselves back. We are our own worst enemies in that regard – as society has told us when we get older we go to school to find a good job, and when we do we stick with it because security is crucial. But it’s okay to feel uncomfortable if that means your heart is open to the possibility of new and exciting ventures. Today, make yourself uncomfortable. Do something new or change your routine. No matter the scale, just embrace it. You never know what you might learn about yourself.
I spent half of my undergrad pushing myself into a mold in order to become a pharmacist. I took all the right classes, I did my research and I even applied to the program in Waterloo. I had never felt such relief when I wasn’t accepted (because I was missing a prereq, I hope 😉 ). That was my first clue that I wasn’t being true to myself. I struggled for months wondering what I was going to do with my life until finally I gave up. I told myself, it’s okay to not know right now – when the time is right everything will work out. A few short months later I was being accepted to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and here I am.
There’s a few things I didn’t consider when I started my medical journey:
1. How much money I was going to have to borrow in order to finance my next educational venture.
2. The weight that 4 more years of school was going to place on my personal life.
3. How I was going to have to learn an appropriate way to both explain and sometimes defend my desired profession.
I find that when people ask me what I’m doing with my life I get really nervous. It always takes me a minute or two to spit out that I’m going to be a Naturopathic doctor – and I can feel myself internally preparing to the go on the defensive and hoping they won’t go further in their questioning. The amount of times I’ve received puzzled looks outweighs the times I’ve received pats on the back. Why am I so uncomfortable telling people what I’m spending 4 years of my life learning? Well how do you explain something that people have never heard of?
I know that part of my displeasure of explaining myself is due to the fact that I haven’t come up with a solid speech yet that gives the profession its appropriate description while simultaneously leaving my questioner satisfied with their new knowledge. The truth of the matter is there really is a lot of people that still don’t know what Naturopathic medicine is. I’m not even entirely sure I know what it is and I’m 2 years into the program! It’s not because the profession is obscure, but because it truly is a broad area of medicine. When you get those quizzical looks it’s hard to feel confident in explaining that we use traditional Chinese medicine, botanicals or acupuncture – not to mention homeopathy – to optimize one’s health. In a society where Western medicine has had a strangle hold for so many years it’s difficult to give someone the Cole’s notes on the innate ability your body has to heal itself.
Is describing my future difficult because I can’t do it in 2 sentences? Probably. But the fact of the matter is is that this is my future – and I need to get confident in promotion of my career. Naturopathic medicine is becoming mainstream in the healthy-living population, but what about the other 90%? It’s the head scratchers that we need to be able to satisfy with our answers to the question: “what are you studying”. The more when can get the word out of the health food stores and into businesses, schools, hospitals, etc. the better we will be able to gain acceptance in the medical profession, and the broader subset of people we will be able to help.
I never wanted to be a doctor. Sometimes in the thick of exams when I’m so stressed I can’t see straight I really, really don’t want to be a doctor. I question my decision to go back to school and sometimes lose faith in the process. But when I allowed myself to be silent 3 years ago this is where my path brought me and that is a fact I have never once questioned. Finding my niche in the profession is to be determined, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get comfortable with telling people what this profession does as a whole. An end goal of mine for 2014 is to give as many “elevator speeches” as I can to find the words I need to tell people what a Naturopathic doctor really is. I want to gain the confidence I need to promote Naturopathic medicine to the best of my ability. It’s time to start spreading the word as wide and as loudly as we can so those people that have never heard of Naturopathy have a chance to form their own opinions and make their own decisions regarding their health. I’ve remained in the program because I’m passionate about what I will be able to achieve when I graduate. So the next time someone asks me what I’m in school for, I’m going to stand up straight, look them in the eye and explain proudly that I’m going to be a Naturopathic Doctor.
In love & health,
The Future Dr. Duncan.
As NPLEX I draws near (the first of two licensing board exams Naturopathic medical students have to write) I am beginning to see just how quickly this summer has past. Today officially marks three weeks until we write…. that’s only 21 days… that’s almost nothing when I look back to May thinking I had three months to prepare. Que freak out.
Instead of focusing on the negative emotions I have surrounding this exam, I’ve been making a valiant effort in approaching it positively. A “whatever happens, happens” attitude. Giving myself a lot of positive reassurance while also allowing my brain to have those moments of holy shit and then letting it pass. 16 months of straight medical school has really taught me a lot about how I coped with stress in the past and how I need to cope with stress now and in my future in order to thrive. I thought I’d share some of my de-stress tips I’ve acquired through my time at CCNM.
1. Don’t judge. Stress is a normal part of life and without it we may live in a very lazy society. I’ve always needed a little bit of stress to light a fire under me and get me motivated to work. Instead of wallowing in your stress, complaining about it and letting it take over your life – accept it. YOU ARE STRESSED. Take a moment to think about why you’re feeling a stress reaction, welcome it in, and then move on.
2. Exercise. It’s really hard to get wrapped up in what you’re doing and think there just isn’t enough time in the day to exercise anymore. I was an avid gym go-er when I came to CCNM and barely stepped foot in one my entire first year – because I thought I was too busy. Exercise can be a very powerful de-stresser weither it’s 10 minutes, 30 minutes or 2 hours. A little bit can go a long way. The endorphin’s released during exercise will help improve your overall mood. Regular exercise is also known to improve sleep – which can become a problem in a high-stress lifestyle. (1)
3. Meditation/Yoga. No time again? Not true. Taking 20 minutes out of your day to step away from what you’re working on and focus on yourself is something you will make time for once you try. Let the thoughts flow in and freely flow out as you take some calming deep breaths and just be you for a while. No distractions.
4. Nutritious meals. We all have our cravings when we are feeling the pressure. Mine typically changes, and last semester finals it was 2 sour cream glazed timbits (haha!). When I know I’m going to be writing exams or super busy, I take some time on the weekend to do some meal prep so there’s lots of healthy and nutritious food in the house that’s easy to grab and go in a rush. Fueling your brain for success will help you cope, keep your energy high and also help with any physical stress reactions you might have like canker sores or acne (two of my key indicators I’m feeling stressed).
It’s easy to let the pressure take over our lives. The most important tool to overcome stress is to remember to breathe. Trust yourself, take care of your body, and visualize the light at the end of the tunnel.
Back to the books!
In love & health,
Holy technical difficulties! I have had this post written and ready to go for some time now. After taking a month or so break from blogging due to exams and general school-related fatigue, I had lost complete interest. I realized, however, that this blog didn’t NEED to BE anything, that was the beauty of having it in the first place. I didn’t need to be educational, I didn’t need to spend hours doing research, I could just write what I wanted when I wanted. After releasing the expectations I had put on myself I was immediately drawn back to this platform and began compiling a few pieces. I guess wordpress has been doing some updates during my hiatus and I have had a really hard time figuring out how to make a post. Luckily I finally found a way that works and I can get back to sharing my journey here with everyone. So without further delay, here is a post I wrote weeks ago!
I wrote a nice long post yesterday about my new scent diffuser and all the wonder benefits of aromatherapy and it didn’t post! Maybe one day I’ll go back and re-write it but I was too sad to tap into that again today.
This morning I woke up feeling very claustrophobic. It happens often, I get this stuffy feeling like if I don’t get out of the house I’ll never be able to take in a full breath of air. I’ve really been enjoying our top deck this summer as my study-zone. Some fresh air, beautiful sunshine and a calming sound of the wind rustling through the mature trees in our complex. Today was different though and I knew that I needed to tackle a project in order to free up some space in our dwelling.
This morning I purged huge. Two xl sized garbage bags full of…. CLOTHES. I will always be the first to admit my shopping addiction as a teenager. With no true concept of money I just wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and nothing really else mattered. As I’ve grown up and tackled some financial demons I have a much healthier grasp on the concept of money and have slowly been detaching myself from consumerism. Not saying that I don’t still shop, because hey, I’m a girl that loves fashion and that will probably never change, but I’m more mindful of my habits. Over the years I have acquired a large sum of clothing and each time I would clean out my closet I would find some excuse to keep things even though I knew full well I hadn’t worn them in a year and probably never would. This morning I woke up with a completely different mindset of what filled my closet and to be honest I probably would have been fine emptying it completely. I had dissolved that attachment I had developed to the clothing I purchased over the years and instead of feeling comforted by a closet full of expensive clothes I felt trapped. I have been very patient with my progress but have been waiting for this day to come when I knew I no longer needed to be surrounded by stuff. It was very liberating as I brought things from the dusty back corners of our (actually rather tiny) closet and placed them in the “let go” pile. Each article I stuffed in the bag was a little less suffocating me each day. I even spent some time trying on old clothes giggling at how my style has progressed and shaking my head at my younger self.
Is your closet full of clothing you don’t wear anymore? I understand more than anyone the difficulty of parting with something you paid hard earned money for. Especially now as I go through med school and every dime I have is borrowed. My advice? Start slow.. get rid of a few things you are 100% sure you will never wear and pile the “maybes” somewhere in your closet together. After a month or two if you haven’t taken an article from the “maybe” pile to wear then it’s time to let it go. Donating your clothing that’s no longer being used isn’t throwing away money, but you can give the opportunity for someone else to enjoy that cute sweater as much as you once did. It got intense in my closet today as many memories were brought up and each time I felt myself getting nostalgic and wanting to keep something “just because” I reminded myself of how I felt this morning when I opened my eyes. It’s good to let go of material things to remind yourself that there’s more to life then possessions.
I want to fill our house with love and laughter, not knick-knacks, clothes, or my highschool science binder. The more space we make for ourselves to grow here the lighter and happier our lives can be.
Feeling light and connected today – I’m rather enjoying the shift I’m experiencing this summer.
In love & health,